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Published: Tuesday June 10, 2014 MYT 3:55:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday June 10, 2014 MYT 3:05:26 PM

Nudes on wheels: Thousands of cyclists take it off for anti-car protest

Thousands of bicyclists, many of them stark naked, poured into the streets of Portland, Oregon, for the 11th annual World Naked Bike Ride, a protest that promotes bike riding as an alternative to driving cars.

Nude cyclists with lights flashing in their tire spokes rang bells as they barrelled down avenues lined with cheering spectators, while a naked, apparently pregnant woman rode in a bike trailer.

Cyclists showed up in Normandale Park in the city an hour before the ride, shedding garments according to the ride theme “as bare as you dare”. “This is a party, but it’s also a protest,” said Carl Larson, a ride spokesman. “It’s about oil dependence, cycling vulnerability and body [image].”

Baring it all: Participant Meghan Sinnott chats as cyclists prepare to pour into the streets of Portland for the 11th annual World Naked Bike Ride. — Reuters

The rides are held in more than 75 US cities and in more than 20 other countries, but Portland’s is believed to be the largest, with more than 8,000 participants last year. But unlike events in other cities, the Portland ride works with local police, being considered as a protest. Officers direct traffic during what is generally a trouble-free event.

“We’ve had a few complaints from neighbours but overall not many issues of concern,” said police spokesman Peter Simpson before the ride, adding “for residents who don’t want to see it, the best advice is to just not go outside.”

Dressing up for a dressed-down event: Though organisers of the bike ride say that "clothing is optional", some participants opt to bling their nudity with sparkly accessories rather than go for the full monty. Below, a festive marching bands entertains the crowds before the ride. — Reuters

Jennifer Young, 40, who was at the ride with her 16-year-old son and was painted blue from head to toe with fairy wings on her back, saw the goal as showing cyclists’ vulnerability, saying “I think it’s a little more evident when we’re naked.”

Neighbours looked on as a marching band played and dancers kicked off the start. Later a naked punk band jammed from the sidelines as bikers rolled past.

Fred Tebo, 90, wasn’t sure what to think of the hordes of naked people in the park across the street from the house he has lived in since 1971. “It’s entertaining and stupid at the same time,” he said, sitting on his steps. But a few minutes later he let a young woman and man clad in their underwear use his bathroom. – Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Features, US, Portland, Oregon, World Naked Bike Ride, bicycle, bicyclists, protest, rally, naked, nude

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